IMG_2400Travel is glamorous for the soul… But as a backpacker, that’s about it.

I’ve been traveling for about four months now and I can probably count the number of times I’ve brushed my hair with my tiny travel size brush on my two hands. That means at best, I’ve brushed my hair 10 times since May, meaning I’ve brushed my hair at a rate of 0.4 times a week. Let’s not even talk about the rate at which I’ve shaved my legs. On an eight day Gobi tour, I was afraid my armpit hair was reaching braiding territory. My once neurotic face care regime has all but disappeared. As my travel size organic products ran out and I couldn’t read the languages on labels, my face washing has been reduced to whatever will lather on my face, or even a wet wipe (who am I?!) followed by whatever remotely resembles some sort of moisturizer. Finding face care products in languages you don’t know is sort of like eeny meeny miny, oh-no-i-hope-i-don’t-get-a-rash-from-this. I’ve probably forgotten how to bring a mascara wand to my lashes and my smoky eye would probably look more like a black eye.

I thought editing my clothes to fit into a shared studio apartment closet in Manhattan was a task, but try fitting style and practicality into a backpack for a 1+ year trip. Let me first say that I would travel the world in a potato sack if I had to, but damn I miss my leather boots and fedoras. I knew traveling long-term would mean stripping down — style included. While some days I appreciate the simplicity of less options, so as to not agonize which shoes (I only have 3 pairs now) to wear with what shirt, some days I am missing my favorite threads (or wearing Rick's). While I would rarely repeat outfits, I find myself in the same outfit for days and sometimes my former fashion stylist assistant self is cringing. I find myself in cargo pants and flip flops out at dinner (ew) and it seems like my latest accessories are a roll of toilet paper and wet wipes. Now that’s chunky jewelry.  And even if I had glamour packed in my backpack, when would I ever use it?! I scored an Ivana Helsinki dress from a thrift store in Finland but haven’t found an appropriate Mongolian trek for the occasion.

Now, I haven’t gone over the fashion cliff just yet. Rick and I haven’t reached matching fleece jacket territory.

We still have some New York in us.

But travel IS glamorous. You may find yourself with the most magnificent Mongolian sunset in your view, complete with horses, a running stream, the whole nine, and your soul is glowing until you realize you are squatting on two wooden beams over a pile of feces and your only privacy is a rusted metal triptych that only covers your backside and barely covers your head.

Who knew you could feel so amazing and disgusting at the same time?

My outsides feel wretched but my insides are beaming.